KAMPALA, Uganda- Members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called for a separate tax to finance health emergencies without straining the health system, and accountability for the taxes put up on different commodities to fund health.
UGANET brings to light the fact that the country needs to urgently forge ways of reducing dependence on donors and out of pocket to fund healthcare, as seen by the already existing challenge of the redirection of funds by World Bank, from access to sexual and reproductive health commodities to funding the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank diverted $15 million from reproductive health, meaning that people who need these services will have to incur a huge out of cost expenditure to afford them. There is no government funding allocated for sexual and reproductive health issues.
The Executive Director of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), Julius Mukunda, said the current Coronavirus pandemic has shown why the country needs such a fund for easier accountability.
10% of the health budget allocated to sexual and reproductive health is contributed by donors. However, the government contributes only 17% to health financing and yet 48% pay for their health services out of pocket.
UGANET, in partnership with other CSOs recommends that the single critical intervention that could change this picture is the National Health Insurance Scheme which is still being discussed in parliament, paired with proper usage of public resources which would thereby revamp the health system especially if specific targets with specific amounts are achieved.
Healthcare is a critical area that the government needs to provide enough funding to ensure healthy and vibrant communities.